Intern-al Affairs: Sharing The Light

6 minutes
Intern-al Affairs is the weekly blog for Oklahoma Today summer intern Haley Humphrey. Check back each week as she explores Oklahoma's past, present, and future.

My fingers hover over my laptop keys as I try to think of the most original sentence to enrapture you, the reader. This, my friends, is my very first blog post ever for a magazine, excuse me, the magazine of Oklahoma. I never would have guessed I’d be working here a year ago, but here I am. Crazy, right? I’m still shook. Do people still say that? Shook?

I never suspected writing a blog would be a challenge, but I have already deleted and rewritten many of these words a few times now. I’m not used to inserting my feelings in what I write, due to my background of reporting facts.

A little about myself before I go on: My name is Haley Humphrey and I’m Oklahoma Today’s new summer intern. I just graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma. (I trust, at this point, my fellow alumni are hollering “Roll ‘Chos!” and enthusiastically waving their hooves in the air.) Not only did I graduate from UCO with my bachelor’s in professional media, I did so during a pandemic—an honor I’m very proud of, or told I should be.

"Oklahoma Today" summer intern Haley Humphrey

"Oklahoma Today" summer intern Haley Humphrey

Kidding! I’m extremely thankful for my higher education journey, which brought me to your computer/tablet/smartphone screens. Conquering degree work when living through a pandemic was just a bonus. If you also completed, or are trying to complete, coursework while in a pandemic, feel free to reach out to me, so we can share struggles.

If there’s a positive for me to this virus that has drastically changed many of our lives, it’s that I have come to appreciate connection more. When I think of connection during COVID-19, I think of all the ways people have stepped up to help one another. We may have to connect through face masks and gloves from six feet away, but these connections are real, nonetheless.

Connections make things happen. That’s as simple as I can put it, thanks to my journalism training for concise writing. (I hope Mark Hanebutt, my media law and news reporting professor reads this. Oh, how proud he would be.) When I think about my time at UCO, I think about all the connections I made—not just on campus, but in the Edmond community.

Citizens Bank of Edmond president and CEO Jill Castilla with members of the #ClarkClass in UCO's Journalism Department. Photo provided by Terry Clark

Citizens Bank of Edmond president and CEO Jill Castilla with members of the #ClarkClass in UCO's Journalism Department. Photo provided by Terry Clark

In fact, when I think of Edmond, I think of Jill Castilla, the president and CEO of Citizens Bank of Edmond. If you do not know her, I hope you take the time to get to know her. If you do know her, I hope you are smiling.

I met Castilla in my Twitter for Media class at UCO. Professor Terry Clark invited her (#Clarkclass, woot, woot!) to talk about the significance of Twitter in students’ mass media fields. She completely rebuilt a community bank in an environment that was increasingly hostile to small banks. She took banking, which can loathe innovation, and made Citizens Bank both innovative and personable.

Before I wrote this post, I went back into Oklahoma Today’s archives to find issues published the year I was born. The first issue I clicked through was May/June 1997 and, on page 17, I found an ad for Edmond. Now, I’m not a huge believer in signs, but I totally think it was a sign.

The May/June 1997 issue of "Oklahoma Today"

The May/June 1997 issue of "Oklahoma Today"

Edmond has grown tremendously since 1997 and I think it’s because we have people like Jill Castilla and others who aren’t afraid of change, especially in the course of making lives better.

“Sharing the light becomes intoxicating,” she told us.

We share that light through our connections. There’s no better time to remember this than now. I look forward to making new connections throughout my time with Oklahoma Today.

Written By
Haley Humphrey

Haley Humphrey
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